Man pushed down from judge's flat, dies
May 21, 2007 - 4:26:58 PM

Patna, May 21 - Residents of this city fearfully assessed security in their buildings Monday, a day after the sensational killing of a company official who was thrown off an eighth floor flat belonging to a judge.

Suresh Mahto, in his 30s, was allegedly thrown by two men from Central Administrative Tribunal - judge Sadhna Srivastava's White House apartment in the heart of the city Sunday afternoon.

One of the men, Pawan alias Vikas, who jumped from the second floor of the building and suffered serious injuries, has been arrested, police said.

'Police are investigating whether it was a case of pre-meditated murder or a robbery attempt,' a senior official said.

'It is a shocking case,' said Arpana Singh, a schoolteacher who lives in an apartment on Exhibition Road.

'We now have to think seriously about safety in our apartments. We used to take pride in the security,' said Lakshmi Agarwal, a businessman living in a building in posh S.K. Puri colony.

'Criminals have been targeting apartments simply because they know that people living in such buildings are not really in touch with each other,' added Rahman Ansari.

Police said Mahto, a Tata Motors official, was in his undergarments when his body was found.

Former director general of state police Narayan Mishra is being interrogated in connection with the incident. A case against him is reportedly pending in Sadhna Srivastava's court.

Mishra, who is facing several corruption cases, has denied his involvement and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation - probe into the killing.

According to Bihar police chief, Ashish Ranjan Sinha, robbery could be the motive as jewellery, ATM cards and other valuables from the flat had been looted.

Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Kundan Krishna has said the two criminals barged into the flat and tried to take photographs of Srivastava and Mahto with the intention of blackmailing them.

'When Mahto, who came from Lucknow the same morning, protested he was reportedly flung outside,' Krishna said, adding that a camera and a toy pistol were recovered from the spot.

Sadhna Srivastava's husband lives in Lucknow.

However, Jagan, a 12-year-old boy working in the judge's house and an important witness, said two people had knocked on the door and barged in. He said the assailants were looking for a C.B. Singh and when Srivastava tried to intervene, she was attacked too.

How the criminals entered the building, which has its own security guards, is a mystery. Besides, the judge had reportedly been provided with special security.

Last December, Patna University professor Papiya Ghosh was murdered along with her old domestic help at her house in Patliputra colony.

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